It’s that time of the year again. The days get shorter and cooler, always followed by colds and viruses. When your little one catches a cold, it can be miserable for the entire family as it almost always affects sleep. Illness is the common cause of regressions.
Learn how to help your little one get the rest they need when they’re sick and avoid regressions.
What To Do
Just like you need some extra sleep when you are not feeling well, your little one needs the same. Unfortunately, it can be a challenging task with a stuffy nose, coughing, fever and overall discomfort. Chances are, your little one would love some extra cuddles when they’re sick, so give your little ones some more cuddles.
Patience is the key when your little one is sick because chances are, your little one will wake more often during the night and need your help to go back to sleep each time. You can expect a massive regression in sleep during this time, especially if your baby has been struggling with sleep already. On the other hand, if your little one is usually a great sleeper, sleep regressions will be short-lived after the illness because he already knows how to sleep well.
What Can You Do If Your Little One Keeps Waking Up?
Unfortunately, there is little you can do if your child keeps coughing and waking up during the night, as this is just part of the course of the illness. Try to keep your baby well-hydrated. An extra feed or water might be necessary during the night to help ease the discomfort of a sore or dry throat.
For chronic coughs or in the event of laboured breathing, be sure to speak with your doctor. Otherwise, with a common cold, you’ll need to ride it out. Unfortunately, it can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks. During this time, it’s easy to let illnesses get routine off track but as soon as your baby shows signs of getting better, start immediately reinforcing your regular routines as much as possible. It can take as little as three days to get used to a new (bad) habit; therefore, the sooner you get back on track, the less likely a regression will occur.
What Happens When Illness Seems To Last Forever?
During the autumn and winter months, it’s easy for your baby to catch one bug after another, so sometimes your little one might be sick for longer than 3-4 days. In this situation, you may have a complete regression with sleep, and you may need to take a few steps back and re-implement routine and possibly sleep training. It may just take a few days of consistency to get back on track, but depending on your little one’s age, they may need a completely different approach.
Tip! Sleep methods change based on your little one’s age. For example, a technique for young babies may not be the right approach for toddlers or young children.
How Do I Know It’s Okay To Get Back On Track?
An excellent guideline to follow is that if your little one is well enough to visit a friend or go to nursery or school, they’re likely well enough to start focusing on sleep again. You can usually tell by your little one’s behaviour when they are feeling ill and when they’re on the mend, so if your child is back to their normal energy levels, that’s an excellent sign.
Communication Makes a Difference!
After your little one has been ill for a while, it’s essential to communicate that you are going back to their regular sleep routine and the changes that it may entail. Even if you don’t think your child understands what you’re saying, try to communicate the changes anyway. Little ones often understand more than you believe. Communication brings respect and understanding, so it won’t do any harm to explain that you are going back to the routine of sleeping at night, and you will have lots of cuddles before bedtime and in the morning. It’s important that they know what’s going on. Otherwise, it might feel very unfair to them that all of a sudden your behaviour changes if they were used to extra cuddles during the night while they were ill.
Hopefully, your little one will back to their regular routine in a few days, and everyone can enjoy some more sleep!
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